Chocolate Pot

Tiffany & Co.
Designed by Charles Osborne

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 199

This chocolate pot exemplifies the unprecedented innovation and creativity that characterized Tiffany & Co.'s work during the 1870s and 80s. Under the direction of Edward C. Moore (1827-1891), Tiffany's produced exquisitely wrought and highly original silver, which in turn attracted many of the finest craftsmen and designers to the firm. Indeed, Charles Osborne (1847-1920), who is credited with designing this chocolate pot, left his position as chief designer at one of Tiffany's competitors, the Whiting Manufacturing Company, in order to learn from and work with Moore at Tiffany's. The silver that resulted from this mentorship and collaboration is among the finest produced during the second half of the nineteenth century. The spiral motifs accenting the pot's body together with the masterfully chased leaves wrapping the spout are signatures of Osborne's work. The lifelike cast ornaments of crawfish and crabs further demonstrate technical virtuosity and inventive aesthetic sensibilities, as does the rich red color, the result of painstaking experimentation and innovative use of electrolytic technology to achieve new surface tones and effects. Moore and Osborne were inspired by Japanese objects; however, their work is in no way imitative. This striking chocolate pot makes clear why The Connoisseur celebrates Tiffany & Co. in an 1885 article entitled "Artistic Silverware" for having "raised the making of artistic silver to a height never reached to my knowledge by silversmiths in preceding ages."

Chocolate Pot, Tiffany & Co. (1837–present), Silver, patinated copper, gold, and ivory, American

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